Here are two boards that fascinate me…
The first is this ancient guy at Waikiki. This guy looks like a surfer. You can tell by his stance and the way he holds his board that he loves it and has been riding it a long time. It took Jacob Stuth and I months of looking at this guy’s board before we realised that the rails have a parabolic curve (the tail widens) and that there was a concave in it. We were blown away because there was nothing like this at the Bishop Museum. We made one that day and found that it rode better than the ones I was making.
The second photo, sent to me by Jack McCoy, is a board that sold at last year’s Hawaii Surf Auction. The board has straight rails, although the camera angle makes it look like the tail is narrower than the nose. But the board has a concave from about 18″ behind the nose to the tail. Then, equally amazingly, it has two little concaves on either side of the nose.
Anyone who has struggled with the alaia design for any amount of time will know that the nose pearling is a problem, as is the nose grabbing water and pulling up the face. Someone well over 120 years ago was dealing with exactly the same problems as us. This was his solution. Did it work? I don’t know. I actually have never tried it.
These are just two examples of how great surfing ideas and history are still being revealed and discovered. I still find it great fun to keep looking at surfing’s complex past.
On a separate note: I am leaving for Europe today for the shaping mission. I am hoping to bring what I have learned about the alaia and other boards to Europe, but at the same time, I am really looking forward to see what the Europeans are up to. If you have a new design or would like to try something new with wood, please feel free to contact me. Actually the best thing to do is respond to this blog – email Howard, editor of Drift Europe. This site is my contact with the world for the summer.